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Posted at 08:53 PM ET, 12/06/2011

Today in Tech: Galaxy Nexus; Apple, publishers eyed by EU; .xxx goes live

Galaxy Nexus: The Galaxy Nexus, the highly anticipated flagship phone of Google’s next Android operating system, has been a bit of a mystery. Not only has Verizon been quiet about when customers will be able to see the brand-new phone on store shelves, it’s also been mum about how much the phone will cost. A report from Dow Jones Newswires, citing “people familiar with the matter,” pegs the phone’s cost at $299.99, which seems to be Verizon’s new standard for its premium smartphones.

The wireless company did confirm, however, that it won’t be offering Google Wallet as a feature from the phone’s launch. Verizon is denying that it’s “blocking” the app, however, and said that it is in “commercial discussions” with Google on the matter.

In a statement, Verizon spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said Google Wallet requires different considerations because it’s simply different from other apps.

“Google Wallet does not simply access the operating system and basic hardware of our phones like thousands of other applications,” Nelson said in a statement. “Instead, in order to work as architected by Google, Google Wallet needs to be integrated into a new, secure and proprietary hardware element in our phones.”

Others, however, say that Verizon isn’t supporting Google Wallet on the Galaxy Nexus because the company is working with AT&T and T-Mobile on its own contactless payment service, ISIS.

Apple named in EU antitrust probe: The European Union’s antitrust group is investigating whether Apple and major publishing houses are guilty of colluding to cut back competition in the e-book market. In a statement, the European Commission announced a probe into Apple and five publishers — France’s Hachette Livre, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin and Germany’s Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck.

The commission said it’s looking at the agency agreements between publishers and e-book retailers that determine prices and the percentages that retailers gain from e-book sales.

.XXX domain goes live:  More 100,000 Web sites using the .xxx domain hit the Web on Tuesday morning, heightening debate over the new top-level Internet designation. The International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers approved .xxx in March, and the domain went up for general sale Tuesday.

Debate over the new domain has been fierce, with both the adult industry and anti-porn activists criticizing the move. Anti-porn groups such as Morality in Media have argued that .xxx will make it easier to find Web sites with pornographic material and would “increase, not decrease” access to pornographic Web sites.

On the other hand, while some adult entertainment companies have embraced the new designation, others say that the move is anticompetitive.

LTE iPad, iPhone rumors: You might want to hold off on your LTE iPad celebration. Last week, reports from Nikkei Business indicated that Apple was trying to bring an LTE model of the iPad to Japan by summer 2012, and an LTE iPhone later in the year. But those claims have been denied by the rumored carrier, NTT DoCoMo. In a statement to 9to5Mac, the company said it’s not carrying the iPhone or iPad, and is not in concrete negotiations with the company.

Google Market tops 10 billion downloads: Google’s Android Market has topped 10 billion downloads, the company announced Tuesday in a company blog post.

“This past weekend, thanks to Android users around the world, Android Market exceeded 10 billion app downloads — with a growth rate of one billion app downloads per month,” wrote Eric Chu, Google’s director of the Android Developer Ecosystem.

Apple’s Grand Central Station debut: Apple is opening the doors of its Grand Central Station store — one of its largest-ever — on Dec. 9, the company announced in a statement on its retail Web site.

Doors to that New York store will open at 10 a.m., just in time to catch the holiday shopping crowds clamoring for iPads, iPhones and other gadgets. The store will open in a 23,000 square-foot space that was previously used by the restaurant Metrazur, PC Mag reported.

StumbleUpon makes itself over: StumbleUpon unleashed a new look, logo and overall feel Tuesday, remaking its homepages by changing all its design elements from the color scheme to the layout, adding a new “Stumblebar” and integrating content from brands and celebrities through the use of Channels.

The site still makes it easy to discover content by taking an area of interest and running with it across the Web, but it’s also aiming to let its users drill down deeper into the subjects they enjoy. Why the makeover? StumbleUpon CEO Garrett Camp said that the biggest reason was to make the site more accessible to new stumblers.

By  |  08:53 PM ET, 12/06/2011

 
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